We have now breached into February, and for most of us, that also means there is a high probability that we have left our New Year’s resolutions in the dust. This behavior of non-compliance to a regimen is universal amongst us human beings. We have all encountered a scenario where we tried to exercise more frequently, cut carbohydrates and sugar intake, dedicate a specific amount of time to personal passions, and in the context of recovery, made a decision to put a plug in the jug. Just as someone on a diet might sneak a cheeseburger when on a diet, we in recovery can also rationalize behaviors that would make our lives easier in the short term. There is an important distinction between slipping while on a diet and slipping in early recovery. That cheeseburger comes with a price not only in the form of 900 empty calories, but also as a devastating intra-psychic blow to our motivation processes. Incidentally, there is also price to pay within the context of relapse, and as anyone who has experienced relapse knows, it is a heavy, and sometimes fatal one. It is important to note this distinction because it instills in us the knowledge that relapse is a devastating trap to fall back into, and one we should not foolishly believe we can flirt with. That being said, relapse happens, and it happens rather often unfortunately. All too often, we are quick to take solace in the sense that we will be able to forge a clear and meaningful path out of the deep and dark forest in which we entered whilst in addiction. The problem with this approach is that it perpetuates our addictive behaviors. Just because we have ceased the use of drugs and alcohol does not mean that we are well-equipped to navigate our way through the recovery landscape without a flashlight as many have tried and failed miserably. We need guidance, assistance, support, and accountability and we need to shed the ego-driven notion that we will transcend our addicted states through our own will-power.
Hired Power, identifying the problem of support and accountability, has established a sober monitoring program whereby professional individuals are assigned to individuals in early recovery in order to ensure that any potential relapse behaviors are addressed, acknowledged, and eventually worked through. The implementation of this type of aid with respect to the individual in early recovery is invaluable. The 28-day model of inpatient treatment is effective; however, it does not adequately address the problem of sustained sobriety. Treatment, by no means, is the silver bullet that destroys the addiction problem. As we often hear about life in general, recovery is not a destination to strive for, but rather it is an ongoing process of personal growth, spiritual evolution, and emotional integration which is all laid atop of the foundation that is honesty and truthful self-reflection. To expect someone to chart this unknown territory alone is a naïve fantasy and has proven to be problematic for just about everyone who has attempted this journey solo. The sober monitoring program can also function as an aid or a compliment to a sponsor if one engages in a 12-step program of recovery. To bring the conversation back to the initial and primary crux of the initial steps of recovery, we must acknowledge that we have a serious and severe problem, that all the knowledge and wisdom we are able to employ currently is not sufficient to solve our problem, and because we alone cannot address our issue, we need to implement the help and support of others. This point needs to be stressed again because if we cannot agree that we are, in fact, in this predicament, we will not be able to take the next and necessary steps to ameliorate the problem.
As a final note, in early recovery we can tend to focus mainly on the materiel benefits of what we are receiving in sobriety. We measure our success by the type of job we attain, the amount of money we make, the school we were accepted into, the type of car we purchase, and the clothes and accessories we are able to afford. While all of these things are great, and if we are fortunate enough to earn or be granted such materiel treasures, we should be grateful and also applaud ourselves for the work we have done. This is far from the entire story of lasting sobriety, however. The true treasures from sobriety come in the form of self-esteem and confidence of which we have never imagined. It comes in the form of the reestablishment of vital interpersonal relationships with family and friends. It comes from a new meaning applied to life in the form of adopting a higher-order purpose whereby we shed the incessant need for hedonistic pleasures. Finally, it comes from the liberation and freedom we experience once we are able to finally look in the rear-view mirror and see the chains that bonded us to the evil encompassed within the active addict. The monitoring and personal recovery assistant programs at Higher Power were created to help guide and facilitate personal growth and understanding within early sobriety and can be integral to anyone who looking not only to rid themselves of their addiction, but who strive to live a life which they had previously never imagined.